I try to stay current on issues that have meaning to young adults. After all I write YA stories and just completed a YA novel. An article by Shelley Stoehr in 1997 snapped me to the fact that the holy trinity of YA concerns in decades—perhaps centuries—past are pretty much the same as today’s concerns. She referred to them as sex, drugs and rock-n-roll. I’ll leave rock-n-roll alone as it’s a form of communication and that is the root of 99.9% of all problems, then and now.
Stoehr was writing from the view point of an author, presenting sex scenes in her own YA stories as a shifting sand sort of thing. Society and environment might determine if a reader sees the scene as a rape or just another way to have sex with a girl.
Drugs are seen as a way to screw up a person’s life. If a YA author shows that in her novel then the reader might catch on to the fact that what he or she—the reader—is doing with drugs in reality might not be such a cool idea.
If an author can write something that influences just one young person to give up drugs or to see relationships in a better light then God bless that writer and her words!